Unlocking The 3C’s in Coaching Relationships

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 As we continue dive into our spring 2019 conversation series  5 Things Kids Want To Tell Parents about Team Sports   , today I wanted to discuss with you why coaching relationships matter in youth sports. Coaching has and will continue to be a talking point for parents, athletes and other coaches.  The youth sports coach, whether it be in the earliest years of recreation basketball to 17U AAU, will continue to be more criticized than your neighborhood school teacher, your local councilman or community police officers. We love our sports, especially when it comes to our children. So its easy to create a need to trample a coach with unfair expectations. We see it across all sports, there is a need to make sure the right coach is in place to ensure our child will be successful in the sport. I am of the belief that if we are going to consistently put our coaches on the hot seat, than maybe it’s time we look at how we view whether a coach is the right fit to serve our children. As a former youth coach and current college coach, I believe there are a few metrics we should be using to judge the value of a good coach.  I offer a few things to think about when we talk about the coach to player relationship (C2P):

3 C’s Conceptual Model of Coaching

(Jowett & Cockerill, 2002;
Jowett & Ntoumanis, in press).

Closeness – Coaches and Athletes must create a connection to each other in the form of a bond in order to unleash the power of this relationship. While is true that a coach will not have to same closeness with all his players, it is also true that coaching without a relationship is not a meaningful and beneficial relationship for all parties involved. When there is a bond missing between a player and coach, coaches should seek to build a relationship with parents to offer a better insight on the athlete. Parents should without judgement offer up ways for the coach to build that relationship with him.
Commitment reflects coaches and athletes’
intention or desire to maintain their athletic
partnership consistently over time; Children respond more favorably to a coach that over time has been more consistent with his or her coaching tactics, praise and criticism. For the Coach, that is not consistently at practice or has failed to develop a consistent pattern of coaching will be critique by that athlete to a point where the coaching will not be received. This part of the coaching relationship is a cognitive representation of connection between the
coach and the athlete. THE MORE TIME YOU SPEND COACHING A KID, THE MORE INFORMATION THEY WILL TAKE IN AND APPLY OVER TIME. It’s the psychological connection that manifest with consistent exposure to information between sender and receiver.

Complementarity defines the interaction
between the coach and the athlete that is
perceived as cooperative and effective.  I use the Positive Negative Positive (PNP) method when working with kids. You can start off with what they did well which usually results in them opening up and then give them ideas about how to improve their performance and then leave on the conversation on a positive note. Complementarity reflects the affiliation motivation of interpersonal behaviors and includes behavioral properties, such as being
responsive, friendly, at ease and willing. This makes the C2P relationship one that goes back and forth. I know with my players I make it an effort to joke and play with them and find unique ways to put in coaching points. Moreover, it’s about finding opportune times to switch roles from sender to receiver when it comes to communication. Let the player give his or her  perspective on what’s going on in the field.  This creates that productive back and forth line of communication that allows coaches and players to be successful.

Coaching is all about unlocking the power of relationships in order unlock the potential of players. Using practice time and activities outside of practice are the best times to make this happen. Come back to my page in the following weeks as we discuss goal setting and how to create pathways for students to be successful.

By: Christopher Mayshack

An author of children’s book titled Light Year Dreams – Becoming the Athlete, Building The Leader    , former college athlete and current college basketball coach.  He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and son Carter. Please visit the website  Here.   Find him on twitter  @CoachMayshack

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